Among the many activities that teachers carry out on a daily basis, diagnostic activities, i.e. any form of gathering information about the state of learning or the learning process in order to prepare pedagogical decisions, are considered to be key. Knowledge, skills, motivations and beliefs of teachers which enable them to do this are summarized under the term diagnostic competence . The great importance of this facet of professional competence is contrasted by an unsatisfactory state of research, which is characterized by a number of research traditions that have so far been poorly interconnected.
The research training group was dedicated to elucidating the influences and structures of diagnostic competence as well as to the design of professional development programs. A systematic approach to the manifold aspects of this bundle of constructs was provided by the distinction between diagnostic dispositions (knowledge, motivation), processes of diagnostic thinking (perception, interpretation, action) and the performance of diagnostic action.
Twelve subprojects combined recent research approaches and applied competence modelling methods, the recording of judgement accuracy and the experimentally controlled variation of relevant influencing variables on the part of the teacher. In particular, the collaboration between psychology, educational sciences and research on domain-specific teaching and learning has expanded the evidence base and improved and systematized the theoretical understanding of diagnostic competence.
The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts funded the “DIAKOM” research training group at the Universities of Education Freiburg and Heidelberg for a period of three years. Within this program, a junior professorship and twelve secondments of teachers from Baden-Württemberg who teach at elementary, lower secondary, intermediate, secondary modern or community schools or at special education and counselling centres (SBBZ) began in August 2017 with the aim of gaining a doctorate or habilitation.